A prolonged period of ultra-low interest rates poses the threat of a fresh financial crisis by encouraging excessive risk taking on global markets, the International Monetary Fund has said.
The Washington-based IMF said that more than half a decade in which official borrowing costs have been close to zero had encouraged speculation rather than the hoped-for pick up in investment.
In its half-yearly global financial stability report, it said the risks to stability no longer came from the traditional banks but from the so-called shadow banking system – institutions such as hedge funds, money market funds and investment banks that do not take deposits from the public.
José Viñals, the IMF’s financial counsellor, said: “Policymakers are facing a new global imbalance: not enough economic risk-taking in support of growth, but increasing excesses in financial risk-taking posing stability challenges.”
He added that traditional banks were safer after the injection of additional capital but not strong enough to support economic recovery.
Viñals said the IMF had analysed 300 large banks in advanced economies, making up the bulk of their banking system. It found that institutions representing almost 40% of total assets lacked the financial muscle to supply adequate credit in support of the recovery. In the eurozone, this proportion rose to about 70%.
via The Guardian
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